Nearly four months after Dick Costolo stepped down as CEO, Twitter appears to have found a new chief executive: its original one.
Cofounder Jack Dorsey will reportedly be named permanent CEO of Twitter “as early as tomorrow,” according to Re/code. Dorsey, who originally ran the company from its founding up until 2011, returns to Twitter at a challenging time in the now-public company’s history.
Twitter has been on the hunt for a new CEO since Costolo announced his departure in June, with Dorsey acting as temporary chief executive since the beginning of July. During that time, speculation has swirled that Dorsey would wind up taking over the position for good–a move that started feeling increasingly inevitable to many industry watchers, despite the Twitter board’s stipulation that whoever took over would have to be fully committed to the company. This should have ruled Dorsey out, given his role as the CEO of Square, the mobile payments startup he founded in 2010.
Re/code reports that Dorsey will, however, be staying on as Square’s CEO, which comes as little surprise seeing as the company recently filed for an IPO.
Twitter’s user growth stalled for the last several quarters; since going public in 2013, the company has faced massive pressure that simply didn’t exist during the 2008 election or the Arab Spring, when Twitter started becoming an impossible-to-ignore force in media and the social web.
Lately, Twitter’s ad business has shown signs of promise. In its last earnings call, the company reported a 63% rise in ad revenue from the last year. But the service has struggled to bring in new users like it once did. To turn this trend around, the company is tinkering with the product, adding features like a revamped homepage designed to reel in newbies and toying with core features like the reverse-chronological order of tweets in a user’s feed, and even the 140-character limit length. Twitter is arguably moving further and further away from the idea upon which it was founded.
Despite slow growth and looming existential questions about the product itself, Twitter has plenty going for it: It is still where everybody flocks during presidential debates and award shows. Major news still breaks (and, for better or worse, spreads) on Twitter. The company’s core base of devoted users aren’t going anywhere: Prominent figures like Edward Snowden, Pope Francis, and Barack Obama use Twitter to converse with huge audiences in a way that was previously impossible. While Vine hasn’t quite reached the heights Instagram has, the Twitter-owned looping video platform has a niche set of hard-core, mostly young users, who often propel its most inventive creators to legitimate stardom. And just six months after its launch, Twitter’s live video app Periscope is already making its mark, streaming real-world events from the silly to the newsworthy.
There are some big challenges ahead for Twitter, but evidently the company is betting that if anyone can bring the magic back, it’s one of the guys who started the whole thing in the first place.